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WBC: Japan defeats Cuba with help from error

WBC: Japan defeats Cuba with help from error

Japan defeats Cuba in a thriller in Tokyo.

The game was tied at 5 in the bottom of the 8th inning when a simple play turned more difficult than expected resulting in an error by first baseman Willian Saavedra as he could not come up with a throw from shortstop Alexander Ayala.

The error allowed Nobuhiro Matsuda to reach with 1 out. The next batter, Shogo Akiyama, wasted no time in singling to left putting runners at the corners with 1 out. After a sacrifice fly to right by Seiichi Uchikawa put Japan up 6-5, Tetsuto Yamada hit the first pitch he saw into the left field stands for his second home run of the game and an 8-5 Japan lead.

Yamada had a huge game for Japan. He drove in 3 runs, scored 4 more, and finished the game 3-for-4 with a double and 2 homers.

It was a back and forth game all night long. Cuba took an early 2-1 lead in the 2nd inning on a Yurisbel Gracial home run. However, the top of the Cuba lineup went a combined 0-for-12. It wasn’t until the lineup got to the cleanup hitter Alfredo Despaigne that they started to see production. Despaigne went 3-for-4 scoring twice. But 8 of the 10 total hits from Cuba came from just 3 hitters, Despaigne(3), Gracial (2), and Yosvani Alarcon (3-for-4)

Neither started pitched well. Both gave up 4 runs in 4 innings of work. The difference was the error made by Cuba that opened the door for Japan.

The loss does not eliminate Cuba from a possible semifinal birth, but they do remain the only team in Pool E without a win. Cuba will need a win against the Netherlands in a rather quick turnaround in order to hope for a Japan win over Israel and a 3-way tie at 1-2. Then they just have to hope to win the run differential and make it into the tiebreaker game.

Full Box Score

Round 2 Pool E Standings:

  1. Japan 2-0
  2. Netherlands 1-1
  3. Israel 1-1
  4. Cuba 0-2

Japan defeats Cuba

About Eric Bynum
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.

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    Who will win the 2017 World Baseball Classic?

    • Puerto Rico (31%, 27 Votes)
    • Dominican Republic (13%, 11 Votes)
    • USA (13%, 11 Votes)
    • Mexico (11%, 10 Votes)
    • Other (8%, 7 Votes)
    • Cuba (8%, 7 Votes)
    • Venezuela (6%, 5 Votes)
    • Netherlands (5%, 4 Votes)
    • Japan (5%, 4 Votes)
    • Chinese Taipei (1%, 1 Votes)
    • South Korea (1%, 1 Votes)
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